19 Things That Only Happen On A Long Train Journey

The unique highs and terrible lows of a trip on the tracks

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1 | The flash of pure hatred in someone's eyes when you confirm that yes, they are sat in your seat.

2 | Gliding through the serenity of three empty First Class carriages, only to emerge in a standard carriage so full, people have set up camp next to the toilets. Should have paid that extra 30 quid.

3 | Writing off entire swathes of the country on the basis of their bleak-looking station. Where the hell is ‘Retford’ anyway?

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4 | Looking over rows of unusually large back gardens and thinking "Oh, it must be noisy living there."

5 | Being surprised when a passenger you’ve been sitting opposite for an hour takes a phone call and has a completely different accent to the one you expected.

6 | The exhibitionist thrill of phoning home to give a loved one an update on your journey. Everyone is listening. This is your time to shine.

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7 | The teenage fare dodger sloping off to the toilet whenever the inspector enters the carriage. You were him, once.

8 | The slumped, snoring businessman and his untouched laptop spreadsheet. "I'll work on the train," must be Britain's worst kept promise.

9 | The anxiety of sitting on one of those toilets with the revolving doors that look like they were stolen from the set of Doctor Who in 1976. You're never convinced they're locked, no matter which light is on.

10 | The shaky walk down a moving carriage: an exact replica of entering a dance floor after eight pints of San Miguel.

11 | The parents who don't seem to notice that their child is playing games on his iPad with the sound turned up. Inexcusable.

12 | The wonderful feeling of self-importance you still get from pulling out a laptop to do some work. No one has to know you're playing Football Manager.

13 | The triumph of finding an empty table seat, the boarding equivalent of a small lottery win...

14 | ...Then two audibly drunk men walking past looking for somewhere to sit. Tense.

15 | WiFi access that transports you back to the 56k dial up days of 2001.

16 | The indignation of getting through an entire journey without anyone checking your ticket. £120 down the drain.

17 | The split second when you're resting your head on the window and a train passes in the other direction. Feels like a near-death experience.

18 | The camaraderie that breaks out when your train is stopped for hours in the middle of nowhere, and the need to moan shatters all social barriers. This is what the war must have been like.

19 | The old couple treating the journey as an event, chatting to everyone who sits at their table. The best people on the train.

This was article originally published on Esquire in 2014.


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